Newcastle United 2 Stoke City 1: Lascelles strikes again to make it three straight wins Matt Dorman Last updated 2 years ago 23:56 16/9/2017 Getty Images Jamaal Lascelles headed the winning goal for the second time in as many weeks to help Newcastle to a 2-1 victory over Stoke. A Matt Ritchie masterclass guided Newcastle United to a 2-1 home win over Stoke City as the Magpies recorded their best start to a Premier League campaign since 2011-12.Having netted the winner against Swansea last weekend, Jamal Lascelles again rose high to head the hosts to a third straight top-flight victory for the first time in almost three years.Christian Atsu earlier opened the scoring inside 19 minutes from a superb Ritchie cross, before Xherdan Shaqiri’s excellent strike restored parity after the restart. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing But Ritchie picked out his skipper from a late corner for the second week to extend Rafael Benitez’s unbeaten streak against Stoke to six matches.The Spanish manager returned to the touchline after missing last week’s match and watched compatriot Joselu spurn a hat-trick of chances against his former club.However, Mark Hughes’ side were unable to make the most of the reprieves as their five-match unbeaten run against Newcastle came to an end.68′- GOOOAAAAAALLLLL!!!!! The captain has done it again!!! 2-1!! #NUFC pic.twitter.com/N72AtkG9Mb— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) September 16, 2017Stoke enjoyed a wealth of early possession and quickly looked the brighter of the two sides, although their encouraging start counted for little when Newcastle broke the deadlock in the 19th minute.After his role in last week’s victory, Scotland winger Ritchie was again the architect for the opener, curling a perfect cross to the far post for Atsu to volley home.An unmarked Joselu could well have doubled the advantage against his former side when Chancel Mbemba’s delivery dropped in behind Stoke’s defence, but the Spaniard awkwardly directed a first-time finish past Jack Butland’s left upright.Joselu was again guilty of failing to make the Potters pay just moments later, the 27-year-old this time unable to beat Butland in a one-on-one when Ayoze Perez’s deflected strike fell kindly in the area.The trend continued immediately after the restart as Joselu made it a trio of wasted opportunities by inexplicably firing over at close-range after Kevin Wimmer misread Atsu’s left-sided cross.Magpies goalkeeper Rob Elliot was required to make a rare save when he palmed away Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s firm drive as Hughes’ side warmed to the contest.And the hosts’ string of missed chances came back to haunt them when Shaqiri took a pair of touches outside the box before curling a fine low finish inside the right post.6 – Each of Xherdan Shaqiri’s last six Premier League goals have been from outside the box. Whack.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 16, 2017Elliot next pushed Mame Biram Diouf’s header over the bar, before a recovering Kurt Zouma was deemed to have got a vital touch on the ball when he halted Atsu’s progress in the area just as the attacker looked destined to double his tally.It mattered little though as Ritchie and Lascelles combined to restore Newcastle’s lead, the defender credited with the goal as he challenged Wimmer in heading home a corner.And the captain’s effort proved to be a winning intervention for the home side for the second time in as many weeks, with Chuopo-Moting blasting over a gilt-edge final chance for the Potters to snatch a point. KEY OPTA STATS- Newcastle have won three consecutive top-flight games for the first time since November 2014.- Christian Atsu bagged his first Premier League goal in his 10th appearance in the competition, having made his English top-flight debut in August 2014.- Matt Ritchie has provided 11 assists in the league since the start of last season, more than any other Newcastle player.- Each of Xherdan Shaqiri’s last six Premier League goals have come from outside the box, with only two of his eight goals in the competition coming from inside the area.- All four of Jamaal Lascelles’ Premier League goals have been headers from corners. read more
Atlético Madrid Time to walk away? Simeone’s Atletico fairytale seems set for an unhappy ending Ben Hayward Last updated 2 years ago 20:00 11/3/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(3) Getty Images Atlético Madrid UEFA Champions League Deportivo La Coruña v Atlético Madrid Atlético Madrid v Qarabağ Deportivo La Coruña Qarabağ Primera División Opinion The Rojiblancos, on the verge of Champions League elimination after a draw at home to Qarabag, are at their lowest ebb since the Argentine’s arrival Is the dream dying for Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid? Failure to beat lowly Qarabag either away or at home has left the Rojiblancos on the brink of a shock exit in the Champions League and there are signs that this fairytale is slowly heading for an unhappy ending.Atletico are unbeaten in La Liga this term. However, five draws in their 10 matches mean Simeone’s side are already some way off the pace in fourth place and, in Europe, there now looks to be no way back for the Rojiblancos after three ties and loss in their first four fixtures.Atletico 17/20 at Deportivo Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at home to Azerbaijan side Qarabag was particularly disappointing. Atletico did not play well, but the feeling was that in times gone by, it was a match Simeone’s side would have found a way to win.Part of the problem is the new stadium. The Wanda Metropolitano is an impressive arena, yet it lacks the warmth and the hostility of the Vicente Calderon. Rival teams dreaded visiting Atleti’s former home, but their new ground does not have that same aura – despite its increased capacity.The transfer ban created an additional problem for Atletico and although both Diego Costa and Vitolo were signed, neither of the two can make their debuts until January – and the season could be all but over by then for Simeone’s side.”if things continue this way, Diego Costa’s arrival won’t help at all,” Gabi said after Tuesday night’s draw against Qarabag. And on the possibility of finishing third in the group (behind Roma and Chelsea) and playing in Europe’s second-tier competition, he said: “Today, right now, I would say that the Europa League is a piece of sh*t.”That shows just how far Atletico have come. Europa League winners in 2010 (under Quique Sanchez Flores) and in Simeone’s first season (in 2012), the Rojiblancos have set their sights on bigger things since and are still set on winning the Champions League after losing to rivals Real Madrid in the 2014 and 2016 finals.Since returning to the Champions League in 2013-14, Atleti have lost out only to Madrid in Europe and it is the dream of winning Europe’s premier club competition that has kept Simeone at the club after many thought he would move on to Serie A or the Premier League (having won the Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, Copa del Rey, La Liga and Spanish Supercopa between 2012 and 2014).Next season’s Champions League final will be played at the Wanda Metropolitano, but Atletico will need to improve significantly if they are to have any chance of reaching the showpiece occastion at their new stadium.The side’s famous pressing remains excellent, but many of their players are currently off form, including Antoine Griezmann, who could leave next summer anyway as his release clause drops down to an affordable €100 million.Meanwhile, the team’s once-miserly defence has conceded several times from corners this term and has allowed more shots from those set-pieces than any other team in La Liga. Not so long ago, Simeone’s side were masters in dead-ball situations at both ends of the pitch. Not any more.Part of the problem is that the likes of Diego Godin and Gabi, Juanfran and Filipe Luis are all getting older and losing some of their vitality. It is now time to rejuvenate and regenerate an ageing squad and it might be difficult to find the right players second time around. The transfer ban (for irregularities in the recruitment of youngsters) has also held up that process.In La Liga, Valencia’s renaissance and the presence of Sevilla means making the top four is not a foregone conclusion this time for Atletico and there is no guarantee the Rojiblancos will be eating at Europe’s top table next season.Simeone, meanwhile, has signed an extension until 2020, having previously cut his contract to leave in 2018. And now he has perhaps the greatest challenge on his hands to avoid his remarkable reign from ending in disappointment after so many successes since his arrival in December 2011.”Destiny is playing us a bad hand in front of goal,” the 47-year-old said after the draw against Qarabag on Wednesday. “We will have to fight hard to beat it.” And he added: “I’m completely responsible and we will have to win this battle with destiny.”Whatever happens, Simeone’s destiny is to leave as an Atletico legend, but how his team reacts over the coming months may decide whether he stays on beyond the summer or sees his tenure suffer an anti-climactic finale at the end of this season.Despite his love for the club and his burning desire to win the Champions League, the time might just have come for El Cholo to walk away.